Where It All Started…

According to the Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, Evan Prothro, my 5th great-grandfather on my mother’s side, was a soldier of the American Revolution. He served in the South Carolina militia during 1781 and was a hog driver during 1782. In those days, long before canning and refrigeration, hog drivers had the task of keeping the army provisioned with livestock. Following the Revolutionary War, a great many of the veterans of that war migrated into the backcountry of South Carolina and the upcountry of Georgia along the Savannah River. Headright grants were given to patriots in return for their service during the war.

A land grant system had existed in South Carolina since the 1600’s. According to FamilySearch.org, The state of South Carolina continued to grant land after the Revolution by passing an act in 1784. Vacant land could be purchased from the state for $10 per hundred acres. The fee was dropped in 1791, and this measure, along with the repeal of the limits to the amount of land that could be granted, fueled land speculation in the state. Consequently, the state granted many large tracts of land in the 1780s and 1790s. The process was abetted by decentralizing land granting: the state surveyor general possessed the authority to appoint numerous deputies in the backcountry to assist in surveying the lands. Land granting continued in South Carolina until the Civil War, albeit at a slower pace as the amount of public land was declining. The office of surveyor general was abolished in 1868, and the practice of land granting virtually died out by 1878. {Source: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/South_Carolina_Land_and_Property)

During one of my recent searches, I found an image of the second of a series of land grants to my 5th great-grandfather, Evan Prothro (aka Old Evan), and also to his sons, and grandsons (those who stayed in South Carolina).

This is a surveyor’s plat which describes a grant of 640 acres of land from the state of South Carolina to Evan Prothro. It states that the land is situated in the district of Cheraws on the banks of Jeffries Creek. The date of this record is January 6, 1787. I found an earlier plat dated August 14, 1786 in the index, but I could not get to the image of the plat as the server was down for maintenance. This first land grant was for 640 acres on Boggy Swamp in Cheraws District.

Here are some others that I found in the index.

Evan Prothro (abt.1742-abt.1822)
1791    PROTHRO, EVAN, PLAT FOR 163 ACRES ON JACKS BAY, CHERAW DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY BENJAMIN ROBERTS.

Nathanial Prothro (abt 1765-1823), son
1795    PROTHRO, NATHANIEL, PLAT FOR 500 ACRES BETWEEN LAKE AND SPARROW SWAMPS, CHERAW DISTRICT, SURVEYED BYROBERT ELLISON.

Nathaniel eventually acquired land on the Georgia side of the Savannah River and towards the end of his life, old Evan joined his son at a plantation near Elberton, Georgia. That land is now underneath Lake Hartwell reservoir on the Savannah River.

Evan Prothro (1788-1864), grandson
Nathaniel’s son, Evan stayed in South Carolina and had his plantation in Shaws Creek Township near present-day Aiken, South Carolina. The younger Evan also received land grants from the state of South Carolina. Evan was the father of my great, great-grandmother, Martha Josephine Prothro Dobbs (1834-1928).

1829    PROTHRO, EVAN, PLAT FOR 27.5 ACRES ON BRANCHES OF EDISTO RIVER, ORANGEBURG DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY JOHN M. PROTHRO.

1835    PROTHRO, EVAN, PLAT FOR 648 ACRES ON SWEETWATER BRANCH, ORANGEBURGH DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY JOHN M. PROTHRO ON NOVEMBER 3, 1829.

1837    PROTHRO, EVANS, PLAT FOR 273 ACRES ON HUNTERS BRANCH, ORANGEBURGH DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY HOWEL T. SALLY FORNEHEMIAH POSEY.

1838    PROTHRO, JOSHUA, PLAT FOR 153 ACRES ON BRANCHES OF CEDAR CREEK, LEXINGTON DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY HOWEL T. SALLY.

1848    PROTHRO, EVAN, PLAT FOR 1,696 ACRES ON CEDAR POND, LEXINGTON DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY H. D. OTT, SUMMARIZING ORIGINAL GRANTS.

1848    PROTHRO, EVAN, PLAT FOR 11,270 ACRES ON SOUTH EDISTO RIVER AND CEDAR CREEK, LEXINGTON DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY H. D. OTT, SUMMARIZING ORIGINAL GRANTS.

Another recent find I made was the tombstone of Evan Prothro (the younger), and that will be the topic of my next post.

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